A myriad of symptoms

by Kimberly Daniels
(Bad Windsheim, Germany)

In August of 2009, my family and I moved to Germany, the home of thousands of bakeries. We all love bread, so I made many trips to the local bakeries for fresh bread and pastries. Of course, this led to a bit of weight gain on my part. With the new year, I decided to start following The Paleo Diet in an effort to lose weight. At the same time, my eldest daughter had been complaining of headaches for months. She also was bloated and had rashes on the insides of her elbows.

After consulting with a friend who has Celiac disease, I decided to look into more symptoms. My friend told me is was hereditary and that if I didn't have it, her father didn't have it, or a grandparent didn't have it, it was unlikely she had it.

Then, I remembered my mother having many various illnesses throughout her life. She has been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, Lupus, Diabetes (Type II), IBS and several other conditions. After further research, I found that all of these conditions have been linked to Celiac disease.

The treatment for Celiac was easy enough, simply restricting gluten from my daughter's diet. So, starting the New Year, we all modified our diet to exclude gluten, while I excluded dairy, legumes and grains.

Within three days, my daughter's headaches had finally ceased. Within a week, her bloating had subsided. The rashes, however, are improving, but we have to be careful of the other ingredients one does not attribute to gluten. Things like mono and diglycerides, mixed tocopherols, and modified food starch send the rashes into overdrive.

We also found that her growth hormone must have been unleashed, because she shot up half an inch within a couple of months.

While the adjustment was a bit difficult for her (she is 13), she understands how lucky she is that we discovered this problem early. We do everything we can to ensure that she is better able to handle it with various gluten free snacks (Cheetos Puffs are her favorite).

We also have found programs downloadable to my iPhone that verify the presence of gluten in specific brands and ingredients.
She also knows that if she doesn't know the ingredients of certain items, even if they say gluten free, she is not to eat them. Cinnamon Chex say 'Gluten Free' but contain Mixed Tocopherols, which causes the breakout on her arms because this is an oil derived from wheat germ.

She also knows that if she does not adhere to the gluten free diet, she will have many of the same ailments of her grandmother. This is something she definitely does not want!

There have been some very good effects to this diagnosis (confirmed by a doctor in March).

First, because she must stick to this diet, I find it easier for me to stick to the Paleo Diet. There is less of an inclination to deviate when it will poison my daughter.

Second, because of this, I have managed to lose and keep off 10 pounds. The hardest part is keeping enough food in the house to feed this child!

Fruits and veggies go quickly. We find some gluten free processed treats, but because of their expense, we don't buy them often.

Also, eating out is a little more difficult. Doner Kebap restaurants (shaved turkey they serve alone or on turkish bread) are popular in this house. The meat, veggies and French fries are all Celiac friendly. However, we stay away from Italian restaurants, fast food restaurants (McDonald's uses vegetable broth in the oil that cooks the fries), and especially bakeries.

Sushi restaurants are good, but Chinese restaurants require careful consideration of the menu items because of the soy sauce.

We are adjusting well. My daughter sticks to it very well and even has support from friends at school. This is probably the best thing that could have happened. Not only has my daughter been able to avoid the ailments of my mother, but my mother is adjusting her diet to try to fix her problems as well.

Furthermore, in keeping off the weight, I have been able to train better and get faster running times that are preparing me for my marathon goals. We are all working as a family to make sure that we all remain healthy by following this diet.

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